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America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2020

Press Release

For Immediate Release
September 23, 2020

For more information contact:
Traci Cook
Children's Forum Staff Director
Phone: (301) 458-4082

Federal report on well-being of America's children and families is now available.
Birth rates were highest for adolescents in rural counties; children in metropolitan areas had lowest poverty rates.

America's Children in Brief 2020 highlights selected indicators by metropolitan status to give the reader a closer look at how well-being may vary by the type of community in which children live.

This year's Brief reports that the birth rates among females ages 15–19 were highest in rural counties (26 per 1,000), followed by micropolitan (small city or town) areas (24 per 1,000), and metropolitan areas (16 per 1,000).1

In 2018, poverty rates were lower for children ages 0–17 living in metropolitan areas (17%) than for children living in micropolitan areas (22%) and children living in rural areas (23%). The difference between micropolitan and rural areas was not statistically significant.

Poverty rates for White, non-Hispanic; American Indian or Alaska Native, non-Hispanic; and Asian, non-Hispanic children ages 0–17 were highest in rural areas. Poverty rates for Black, non-Hispanic children were highest in micropolitan areas, and poverty rates for Hispanic children were highest in nonmetropolitan areas.

Other highlights from this year's report include:

  • Family and Social Environment: In 2018, maltreatment rates were lower in metropolitan areas (8.1 per 1,000 children) than in micropolitan areas (12.1 per 1,000) and rural areas (13.0 per 1,000).
  • Economic Circumstances: In 2018, the percentage of children in households that were food insecure was higher outside metropolitan areas (18%) than in metropolitan areas (15%). The percentage of children in food-insecure households in metropolitan areas decreased from 2017 (17%) to 2018 (15%).
  • Health Care: The percentage of children who were uninsured was higher for those living in micropolitan counties (8%) than those living in metropolitan counties (5%).
  • Physical Environment and Safety: Children faced more housing problems in principal cities of metropolitan areas (46%) than elsewhere in metropolitan areas (37%), or in micropolitan (36%) or rural (32%) areas.
  • Behavior: A higher percentage of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in nonmetropolitan areas than metropolitan areas reported daily cigarette use in the past 30 days.
  • Education: In 2018, the high school completion rate for young adults in metropolitan (94%) was higher than the completion rate for young adults in nonmetropolitan areas (89%).
  • Health: In 2017–2018, infant mortality rates were highest in rural counties (6.8 per 1,000), followed by micropolitan counties (6.4 per 1,000) and metropolitan counties (5.6 per 1,000).

This report is published by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics and is posted on Single hard copies are available free from: The Government Printing Office, 8660 Cherry Lane, Laurel, MD 20707.

1 2010 Standards for Delineating Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas, 75 Fed. Reg. 37246 (proposed June 28, 2010). Retrieved from